Gaming My Way

21 Apr

100 Games I’ve Played, Part 2

Inspired by James Newton’s Sega Top 50, I decided I’d like to try my own project. This is going to be one hundred different games I’ve played, beginning to end. There are a couple exceptions for games in a persistent world format, but they’re a minority. Of course, one hundred games are easy, but to keep things interesting, I’m only pulling one game per series. To be clear though, that doesn’t mean games with the same characters can’t show up together on the list, just not games from the same series. For instance, I could (and may) include both Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Kart, but I would not include both Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario 64.

Now is the perfect time for this project, as I’m now leading up to my 100th post on Gaming My Way. Some of these games will be excellent, others will be awful, but all have been played through. Today, I’m moving on to the next 10, in no particular order, and I’ll do 10 more each post until I reach 100. Perhaps you’ll find some gems in here to try out, as well as a few to ridicule and warn others against playing.

11) Tiny Toons Adventures: Buster Busts Loose (SNES)

Given the license, you might expect this game would be no good. You’d be wrong, but if you never played it, you’d be forgiven for having this expectation. However, this game is a brilliant platformer, with level design that never gets old due to the large variation and vibrant color. Levels range from the wild west, to the school football game, to outer space. The mini-games between levels are pretty hit or miss, with the tennis one being one of my favorites while I hate the maze. You’ll also find a decent challenge on the hardest difficulty, though anyone who likes games Contra hard will be sorely dissapointed in that aspect.

12) Skies of Arcadia (Dreamcast)

Here, we have one amazing RPG. You know the brooding hero that every other RPG in existence seems to have? You won’t find him here. We have optimistic heroes today. Sick and tired of not having an airship until the end of the game? Oh, you start with one in this game… though to be fair, it’s rather necessary to have it to get around. Wish you actually got to use your awesome airship in battle? Yeah, in this game, you can fight ship-to-ship combats. In short, this game has everything you want in a jRPG that other games don’t, aside from Grandia’s battle system. Add an amazing and epic story to this, and an awesome soundtrack, and you have one sweet game.

13) Psychic Force 2012 (Dreamcast)

This game is one of those unknown gems the Dreamcast has lying around. In this fighting game, you take control of a psychic with a unique set of powers, and battle to the death inside a cube. You can fly around anywhere within the cube, so as long as you avoid the edges, there’s always somewhere to run if you feel the need. Of course, there are also many varied ways to trap your opponent, so a running game will only get you so far. Since everyone has a wide variety of moves for different occasions, there’s a lot of strategy in any given fight. One really cool aspect of the game is that any non-basic attack requires the use of psychic energy, and the amount of psychic energy increases as your health decreases.  This helps to keep matches closer, as the losing player can also launch more attacks at once. Of course, you can also voluntarily drain your own health to gain this advantage along with a boost to your attack power that lasts for the entire round. Choose your balance of power and health carefully, young warrior.

14) Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance (GC)

Like punishingly difficult strategy RPGs? You’ll love this game. If you want to keep all your characters, you can bet you’ll be working for it. As soon as a character falls in battle, he’s gone. You’ll never see him again in your current playthrough. There are no res potions. So you’d best protect all your heroes. Let Ike fall? Game over, man. Of course, the game rewards you for intelligent strategy, and it is entirely possible to finish the game with everyone still alive… just maddeningly difficult on some stages. In addition to a fine game of strategy, you’ll also find a fine story of heroism as Ike comes of age and takes over the mercenary band once run by his father. Naturally, these are noble mercenaries, who only take on clients with a just cause. Whenever this can be accurately determined at least.

15) Ninja Gaiden (NES)

Ok, I just called Fire Emblem above a difficult game. In terms of a strategy RPG, it is. Ninja Gaiden, on the other hand, is hard by any measure you may use. You can probably make it through the first level without breaking too much of a sweat, but after that, you’d best have your reflexes honed and be ready for the fight of your life. This game pulls no punches. Enemies will appear in the most inconvenient places, ready to send you flailing into the bottomless pits below. You’ll need exacting timing to kill these enemies without dying yourself. Sometimes, you’ll need exacting timing just to make a jump across such a pit. And, while there’s no limit on how many times you can continue, you will be sent back to the beginning of whatever set of stages you’re currently attempting when you do. The best part? Die once at the final boss, and it’s back to the beginning of the last set of stages, whether you need to use a continue or not. Luckily, the controls are tight, so you always feel in control of your character. Of course, this is small consolation after dying for the 15th time. Still, a very fun game, and worth playing through if you have the patience.

16) Psychonauts (PC)

This is one amazing platformer. You take on the role of the psychic Raz, who sneaks into psychic camp to hone his gift. Things go horribly wrong as kids start dissapearing, and it’s up to you to enter the minds of various camp counselors and other people who are there, solve their mental issues, and unravel the mystery of what’s going on to save the students at the camp. Each mind is a different stage, and they’re all quite distinct. As you progress through the game, you’ll pick up powerups to improve your psychic abilities and hone them to the fine edge you’ll need in order to save the camp. If you haven’t played this yet, pick it up if you can find it. It’s well worth the playthrough.

17) Shenmue (Dreamcast)

Lots of people didn’t like this game because their wasn’t a lot of emphasis on combat until the end of the game. However, I think these people were simply missing the point. This game was all about exploring, and interacting with everything. Of course, you explore your way through the story, which starts out pretty slow once you get past the part at the beginning in which your father is killed. But the story builds slowly, and picks up as you move through the game. In the beginning, this game is much more about solving the mystery. Once you’ve managed to do most of that, you get into the thick of things, and find plenty of combat as well as more to explore. The one majorly irritating part of the game is when you have to get a job to earn money… that probably could have been glossed over. But for what the game was trying to do, it does fit, so I can’t complain too much. As long as you can handle the lack of action at the beginning of the game, this one is definitely worth a playthrough. If you can’t, well, I don’t blame you, but I still say you’re missing out on an amazing game.

18) Golden Axe 2 (Genesis)

This game is quite simply the finest beat ’em up I’ve ever played. It’s pretty simplistic, but it just has that magic that always makes me want to come back and play it again. The combat is nice and smooth, the soundtrack gets you in the mood for some medieval one (or two) man army action, the artwork is great, and it controls like a dream. Quite simply, you take control of one of three heroes, each with their own magical repetoire and favorite weapon, then go fight everything until you come face to face with Death Adder, who has stolen the magical golden axe which… well, to be honest, I’m not too sure, as story isn’t the main point of this game. But you’ll find out it’s quite powerful when you get to the final battle, and that’s what really matters.

19) Soul Fighter (Dreamcast)

Not to be confused with the excellent Soul Calibur, Soul Fighter is another beat ’em up in the vein of Golden Axe… except in 3d and not at all worth your time. You do get to choose from a few different heroes with their own repetoire of moves, and the variety is nice, but it won’t save this game from being way more tedious than it should be. The camera is awful, and it can be quite difficult to align it properly to attack your enemies, something a little bit important in a beat ’em up. Furthermore, it’s possible to miss enemies as you go through the levels, as there are multiple paths you can take. This would be a good thing, except you must kill everything in order to get to the boss fight each stage, and you’re on a strict time limit, so if you miss any enemies, you’ll lose precious time backtracking, and likely be unable to finish the stage. This is a shame, because these would have been simple things to fix, and this could have been a  very fun game, but as it is, it’s simply awful to play through and you shouldn’t waste your time.

20) Lunar:  Silver Star Story Complete (Playstation)

Sometimes, you really do want a cliche story. This game has exactly what you want in this case, and delivers it with a lot of heart. Alex grows up wanting to be a great hero, and as luck would have it, he gets thrust into this role as the Dragonmaster, with some help from his friends. He must assemble all the great dragons of the world, and then use their power to save it from a great evil. The game uses a fairly standard turn based battle system, but it gets the job done. Animated cutscenes help bring the story to life, and there are a couple of plot twists, most of which you’ll probably see coming. Play this when you’re looking for a traditional jRPG with a cliche, but solid and satisfying story.

Links to all parts of this series:
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 1
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 2
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 3
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 4
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 5
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 6
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 7
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 8
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 9
100 Games I’ve Played, Part 10

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